Small English Town Poised to Become Europe’s Fake-Meat Capital

(Bloomberg) — Surrounded by some of England’s most fertile farmland, the small town of Boston will become Europe’s fake-meat capital next month with the opening of a giant factory making plant-based burgers and sausages.

Plant & Bean Ltd.’s new factory, the largest in Europe, will eventually churn out 55,000 tons a year of alternative protein products. That will provide the faux-meat industry with the scale to narrow the price and quality gap with conventional meat products, according to Chief Executive Officer Edwin Bark.

“We need to reduce the cost and that comes by increasing scale,” Bark said in an interview. “The gap with animal meat is really too big in key markets. You can completely understand that for families to buy plant-based products regularly is still a challenge.”

Alternative-protein demand has boomed in recent years as climate change and health concerns drive consumers to products like fake burgers or nuggets. The industry has attracted huge venture-capital investment, while food giants from McDonald’s Corp. to Nestle SA are rolling out their own product ranges. Still, sales remain a fraction of the $1.4 trillion global meat market.